Seatbelt warning sounds have never been the same since they opened Queens of the Stone Age’s Songs for the Deaf album in 2002. The entire duration of the album is the exact length of time it would take to drive from Los Angeles to the Joshua Tree national park. The fake radio that permeates the album in between tracks actually documents that journey, passing through local radio stations.
A lot has changed in the two decades since Josh Homme released their third album, but nothing has come close to matching the album. A true lightning in a bottle album where every single piece came together in an explosive and perfect storm. Dave Grohl on drums, Mark Flanegan on backing vocals, and Nick Oliveri on bass. There aren't many albums so perfect beginning to end, the kind of album that if one track randomly plays you cannot help but put the entire album on.
'This record was supposed to sound bizarre—like lightning in a bottle. We also were extremely fucked up. It even sounds that way to me, like a crazy person. The radio interludes are supposed to be like the drive from L.A. to Joshua Tree, a drive that makes you feel like you're letting go—more David Lynch with every mile.' - Josh Homme
But it wasn't to last. Upon completion and subsequent touring, Dave Grohl left Queens of the Stone Age as quickly as he joined, joining just to fill in on drums in the studio. Mark Flanegan would stay on for 2005's Lullabies to Paralyze before leaving. Nick Oliveri would remain until he was kicked out two years later.
One thing that has changed in that time, is the rise of streaming services and the demise of physical copies. And one downside to streaming, are hidden tracks. If you owned the CD of Songs for the Deaf, then the first track is a ghost track, rewinding 1:33 you would be greeted with a whispered "Huh? What?" and then a bassline heartbeat so low that deaf people could actually 'hear' it, and the title; The Real Song for the Deaf.
There was a heated debate over the best tracks from Songs for the Deaf, but a final list was agreed upon. Here is the best tracks on the album, coincidentally also the entire track listing:
You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire
No One Knows
First It Giveth
A Song for the Dead
The Sky is Fallin'
Go With the Flow
Gonna Leave You
Do it Again
God is in the Radio
Another Love Song
A Song for the Deaf